The Singapore Poetry Contest – First Prize Winner

At the Dentist in Michigan
by Inez Tan


I have to touch the red
velcro strap holding the mirror
to the chair, so much
like the one I used
to bind the textbooks I clutched
to my navy school pinafore
that I think it must be
a trick, so something or someone
ought to vanish.

I keep half my possessions
at my parents’ address
in Singapore, I keep
seeing things
where they don’t belong.



Inez Tan grew up in Singapore and the United States, where she is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan. Her writing has appeared in Fare Forward and The Irish Literary Review, and has won an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train.


For details of The Singapore Poetry Contest, see here.

About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.

One comment

  1. Pingback: … something or someone ought to vanish. – Inez Tan

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